Mark Bennett

I have been involved with FOCUS since I was a student in 1992. I have volunteered for FOCUS in many roles, including as a project volunteer, team advisor, project manager for some residential projects and now as a Trustee. My 'day job' is as an Associate Partner and Project Manager for IBM - in this role, I lead teams to build new computer systems. Outside of my work, I have recently completed my MBA and enjoy cycling, swimming and travelling to new places - a particular highlight in recent years was teaching English at an orphanage in Sri Lanka.
Throughout the time I have been involved with FOCUS, the charity has changed a lot, however, we have always had our core principles at the heart of everything we do. I have always been impressed with the quality of our projects, commitment of staff & volunteers and the lasting effects we have with young people. I decided to become a Trustee to put more into FOCUS, bring skills from my work and influence how the charity operates.

What do I bring to the Board - I balance knowledge of our projects and participants with principles of how to run teams, organisational governance and budgeting. For FOCUS to be successful, we need to deliver high quality projects and also use principles of how to operate as a business - we need money in order to run our projects.

Steven Walker

I originally started out at Focus as a participant on one of the projects that they where running at my school in 2006, As I was doing this project I got to meet former prime minister Gordon Brown who was visiting Leicester at the time. After this project was completed I was invited to go on another one of FOCUS's project in the summer holidays and after this project you could kind of say I was hooked on FOCUS constantly ringing them up asking when there was another project being ran that I could go on. On the day of my 16th Birthday I phoned up saying I want to volunteer for them which I have done now for a few years. Early in 2012 I was invited to join the Board of Trustees and here I am now. As a Young Trustee I bring to the board a first hand knowledge of the great work that Focus does with the young people it works with.

Lisa Egan

Lisa has been involved with FOCUS for more than 20 years. At first she was a young participant with one of our programmes. Once old enough she became a volunteer and has been volunteering for FOCUS ever since. She has been on the board of trustees since 2005.

Richard Beamish

A teacher by profession, I spent some fifteen years in education, including in a Birmingham inner-citty school and working with young people waiting care placements. Transferring to industry, I worked in newspapers focusing mainly on journalism, advertising and print training, but also took responsibility for new media developments and schools' liaison. I also worked on skills development and apprenticeships in facilities management, property and housing, including running a sector skills council.

Working with Focus enables me to use the skills and experience developed over some forty years to give something back and, hopefully, to make a real difference.

Kevin Higginson

In my professional life, I am a Chartered Accountant and Member of the Institute for Turnaround, having worked as Finance Director for a number of large companies (one meant that I was based in the centre of Leicester for 5 years). I have often worked with companies encountering financial difficulties or needing management support to achieve a transformation.

I am married with 4 grown up children the youngest of whom is in their twenties. In the past I have been Chair of Governors at Junior School and Governor at an  Academy School, both  in South Derbyshire.

When much younger I worked as a volunteer on a local Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme committee and helped organise a weekly social club for mentally and physically disabled children.

When considering whether to become a Trustee, a phrase in the Focus Annual report really struck a chord with me which was “we are about to be presented with an opportunity to “switch on a light” and support someone”.

Giving young people a chance to have new experiences, learn about leadership and taking responsibility for themselves is, for me, a real key to personal development.  Whilst at school, one particular teacher encouraged me at 13 not just to focus on school work but to look more widely at other activities such as participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. The team building and leadership experiences derived at that age have stayed with me for life.

Derek Ridgway

Recently retired having spent 30 years as a Police Officer and 11 years working for Probation

I am currently a trustee of 3 other charities and have previously been the Chairman of an Outward Bound Group in Birmingham.

Working with Focus enables me to bring my knowledge of charity and business legislation and procedures to the Board as well as my experience of working with and developing young people, both voluntary and in a work environment.


Liz Henderson

I was appointed to the board as a Trustee in 2016. bringing over 20 years of leadership and data management experience – where I specialise in turning data into a business asset and developing actionable insights - to benefit the running and development of the organisation and its people. I provide thought leadership via publication of a monthly blog on Data Governance, Big Data & Digital Transformation and have experience in leading graduate programmes. I am a member of the leadership team for Connecting Women in Technology (CWT) working with Avaya, Cisco, Dell, Google, HP, IBM, Intel and Microsoft on female retention and soft skill development.
Outside of work I enjoy spending my time travelling and gardening.


Helen Donnellan

I joined the board of trustees in 2017. I work in Leicester to bring new businesses to the city and county and to promote the city to visitors and investors. I work on a daily basis with many of the businesses across the city and county and am passionate about supporting young people into employment. I am keen to bring my 20 years of business marketing experience to the Focus board and have an impact on the development of leadership skills amongst young people and help to boost their aspiration and ambition.